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Statement of Purpose About This Blog

Oklahoma- 2014

Oklahoma- 2014

“If you are anything like me, there are nights you cannot sleep. There are two basic pillars to my existence- A recognition of the heartbreaking beauty of the world, followed closely by an obsession with life in it’s myriad of forms. I think for me, my greatest intrigue lays in the mesh-point between the indifferent world at large, and the human subjective experience. This is where the magic occurs.” – Austin Brown 

The layout of this blog will consist of posts, usually daily, that will either illustrate some subjective experience I have had, or explain the value of the subjective. The rest of the entries will be the discussion of theories and philosophies in a general and accessible way. I will try to keep away from being too academic, as no one is interested in reading that shit, except for me. The point really is to challenge people to examine the reality they live in, really examine it, and ask the most difficult questions- questions we usually avoid in our day to day lives.

The “Shit to Buy” on the lower right part of the page will list books that I suggest you read as we go along. I only recommend books I feel are life changing. I won’t bullshit you about ideas, literature, or anything else which can help you along. I am very serious about self cultivation and self-actualization. I suppose that is the entire purpose of this blog. I used Amazon as an affiliate because aside from corporate evil, they DO have the best prices and biggest stock. Plus I want all my grasshoppers to feel secure in ordering things online.

Anyway, thank you for the read. Hopefully I will not let you down.

Isuelt

Grey,
unlike any other-

But it only offers gracious contrast.
This dead city yawns around us,
with streets open like pilfered graves.

The rain has made your violent
and crimson hair
liquid,
on spider legs,
delicately flowing like the laughter
of poor children in wretched streets-
the perfect curls
sliding along the pale edges of your ivory face;
and a smile like violin notes during summer storms.

I don’t mind standing in the puddles,
I don’t mind the walking dead.

I feel you:
white,
opening like lilies in misty May-

Lips as final as Hyacinth.

Edges of the Dark

She struck me like the fractured edge of stone,
Smooth dark depth of obsidian;
In my corner I spun the webs,
and drained the bodies.

I walk the sharpened edge of the chisel.

There was no stilted walk,
to get away-
to scatter into dark corners.

You are my secret.
I am the bones afire in the night tide,
and outside your broken windows,
I sing the most hollow of songs.

Mother Autumn

Bare

I lean into autumn,

her hands brush my cheeks, raking her nails lightly across my face,

there is a tinge of brutality to her,

her anger at winter,

she seems to hold me responsible.

 

Skipping the curb on First street,

there is a dog with a sweater

walking her pinch faced owner

who wears loneliness like a birthmark on her face-

rage and shame to all who expose her.

 

There is neon further up,

the scent of fire and moss,

the withdrawing fuse has angered the afternoon.

the leaves fall like dead soldiers,

the clouds retreat and protest,

the sun, though slanted at the late hour,

is given carte blanche,

at least for now.

 

Winter will wipe it all away like a flooded stream-

the orange fire,

the red nuance,

the yellow protest,

and the slowly dying sunlight.

 

But as I walk, I know Autumn,

She gave birth to me,

I am her balanced child.

She will not give in yet,

she will only bend.

Six weeks until Samhain,

Mother Autumn and I are safe for now,

intertwined as I walk the streets she decorates,

she dresses me in scarves but no heavy jacket,

“Do not be too eager” she says,

the old man will be here soon enough.

Winter with Veruca

Oklahoma - 2014

Oklahoma – 2014

 

Violent and tumultuous come the clicking of her heels

along the cheap tile of my dingy kitchen.

 

She is the Rosebud of mystery.

Her love is black and white.

She walks alone before the eyes like cameras.

I am an invisible observer,

she doesn’t even say goodbye,

I drown in relief.

 

I go back to the menial task of living,

It is winter,

and my heart has not been invented yet.

 

One week later somewhere around Beson and Amity,

lover structure unfolded,

bursting forth like a rescue slide from the darkened door

of jet liner wrecked in the night.

Her passing presence is going to infect my days,

rooting out the core of the metal,

bending and reshaping carefully crafted

architecture of the halcyon spirit.

 

I slam the doors shut.

Kill all my houseplants with bleach,

and burn the sheets.

 

This place, this city, the tresses and iron,

the cold rain,

the running gutters-

rain : ingrained-

in asphalt,

squared cement,

and the tortured cracks in pavement of old alleyways.

 

I haven’t relived her vaporous hologram in weeks,

neither in wake or sleep.

Spring will come. My own fuse is tied to the burning stake.

 

Hailing a taxi around fiftieth,

I secure tomorrow’s hangover at the expense of next week’s rent,

and dance up the stairs,

where a century of feet have passed through

and the carpet is worn antiquity.

The scent of  one hundred years of raw humanity

emanates from the ever damp carpet.

 

Like a mugging,

she is there,

mad men have made roped black lines of tears,

descending to her open heart,

her hair is wet,

she has no coat.

And like that, I am suddenly both victim and hero,

caught again in the serial show,

black and white,

gunfighter, space-man,

and the endings are all the same.

 

 

Simplicity IS Living

Upright Tank

 

For a while now, we have been batting around theory, subjective experience,s and directed thinking. I read a lot of other people’s stuff. There are many things which I have picked up along the way and try to practice. The one main theme I encounter is that all workable and adoptable ways of living which denote a bit of enriching artful states of being, are inevitably based in simplicity. In that spirit, I will try to keep this post brief and succinct.

 

Things You Should Do Everyday

1. Spend at least one full minute standing completely still listening to your surroundings, feeling the sun on your skin, the wind through the trees, and the sound of your own breathing. I say to do this for one full minute- why? Because no one has time for anything these days. All this self-help pro-forma literature begs and pleads with you to make time for you. Easier said than done. But you do have one full minute. With daily practice, you will find the experience so delightful and fulfilling, you will expand it. So start somewhere tangible. Take that one minute for yourself.

2. Pay attention to the experience of drinking water, washing your hands, showering, or some other menial daily task. Set aside all your thoughts and fully feel the experience. Feel the water, it’s odd liquid texture, it’s tasteless refreshment, and the feeling of satiation. Be present to your bodies sensation, it’s movements- enjoy the feeling of your own body, even if for only a little while.

3. Eat Spartan, Sleep Spartan. Eat a plain diet in small portions. Notice what drives you to eat, when and why. When you crave something specific, draw it out as long as possible, then enjoy it, focusing only on the feeling of a satisfied craving. Forget all the fads and bullshit. Just shoot for a meat, a veggie, a fruit. Spruce it up with the occasional sweets. Don’t over think food. It is a natural process. Sleep between 4 and 6 hours a night. When you have some time off, clear your schedule, take a melatonin, turn off your alarm and silence your phone. Get at least on night a week of 9-12 hours of sleep.

4. Read everyday. Ritualized this practice. Do it either first thing, or last thing in your day. Have a couple books of fiction, and a couple of non-fiction going at one time. This way you can read in sync with what you are in the “mood” for. I keep fiction around because some days I want junk food after thinking all day. At other times I crave history, or scientific literature. Try out some new stuff you do not know if you will like. Read translated literature- Anything which will help you to explore literature.

5. Write at least once a week. The subject matter and the content are unimportant. It will evolve on it’s own in whatever direction your creativity wants to go.

6. Television is a total waste of time. There is no two ways about it. The greatest agent which has robbed the artistic, intellectual, and spiritual core from human beings is that fucking box. Get rid of it, use it only to watch sports, utilize Netflix. If you find yourself “channel surfing” get a hobby. Seriously. There is zero excuse for coming home, plopping in front of the box, wasting days, hours and weeks, looking at NOTHING. Turn off your TV- it is the single greatest thing you can do to improve your life. My personal feeling is that people that choose to engage in television have no right to complain about the condition of their lives. They just don’t, since they CHOOSE to waste several hours a day engaging in a task they know is wasteful. People that choose to watch TV everyday also have no right to complain there “isn’t enough hours in the day.” Again, you are choosing to be short on time by watching television. If social media is your bag, have FB running in the background, look up topics that interest you, share them with pals. DO NOT, just sit on a social media site hitting the like button like a monkey or stalking ex lovers like a creep. If you do need watch something on television, watch documentaries that interest you- you get the full “zombie” effect, but you learn something meaningful at the same time. That is a win-win after those long days when you want to spend an hour siting there staring at the television. The absolute worse state to be in is a time when you find yourself cruising social media, with a TV droning on in the background. This is depravity, and it is a trap.

Also on the topic of electronics, remember that answering your phone is optional after six. Do not bring work home if you can help it, do not let other people’s drama eat up your evening hours via cellphone either. Answer your phone and emails sparingly and only when you absolutely must. When your phone rings at nine pm, and you know who it is and what they want- see if it can wait until tomorrow. If you do answer, make it clear that this is your downtime and that you are not interested in talking for long.

9. Fashion your day around your hobbies. Instead of spending all your energy at work, trying to “make time” for your hobbies in the evening when you are exhausted, instead, approach your mornings with the idea that “Hey, after work, I get to do my thing.” This makes your workday merely an obstacle that stand between you and your productive and enlightening hobbies and activities. Work is what you do so that you can enjoy your hobbies. Work is the Means, and recreation and intellectual pursuits of interests are the Ends. Never confuse the two.

 

Relationships Made Easy

1. Does this person add to your DAILY life? No? Bye.

2. Do you look forward to seeing this person almost all the time? No? Bye.

3. Does this person have issues which are destructive that affect your life? Are they actively doing something to find solutions to these issues? No? Bye.

4. Do you wish you were with someone else almost everyday? Yes? Bye.

5. In general does the person put you in a positive mood or a negative mood? Negative? Bye.

6. Do you obsess about whether you “love” this person? or vice versa?- Bye.

7. Do you suspect any funny business? No evidence is needed. This is your life, not a court room. Bye.

8. Life is too short to settle, and it is too short for dreary lovers. We have made “compromise” such an operant word in today’s relationships that 90% of people settle. Never let loneliness drive you into a relationship which negatively affects your existence. You want someone that makes the art of being “you” even MORE “you”. Someone that makes it better, more enjoyable, and easier to be who you really are, and someone who loves you for that. Anything less is unacceptable. You should never have to defend who you are, or explain your inner workings to someone else’s satisfaction- especially an intimate partner. If you find you have to defend your personality from attack, then it is time to look elsewhere. If someone is focused on “changing” it is time to go. If you feel that so and so would be great if you could just get them to not do XYZ, then you need to look elsewhere and leave them in peace. This simple truth will free up so much emotional energy, you will know yourself better, and be a better more secure person for it.

 

Actions to Take

1. Resolve the most nagging issue you deal with right now. If you cannot find a solution right now, today; then formulate a plan for how you will do so in a specific and set time frame.

2. Be kind. Be generous. Hold doors, say thank you, ask people how their day is going and LISTEN to their response. Give money to homeless folks. Most generosity is very very small. Kindness is nothing more than stopping to acknowledge that you are not the only person on the planet. Easy mode.

3. Think regularly and at length about everything. Think about thinking. Notice how many of your thoughts are declarative statements. Change these statements to open ended questions. Formulate at least three questions for every challenge you need an answer to. Broadening your mind is not something for geniuses and academics. It is not magical, nor does it require excessive brain power. You want to stay out of automatic pilot in your personal life. Work, for example, is the time and place for that, because you get paid you focus on a task and follow through. But at home, sitting in your recliner, wondering how you are going to accomplish X, you need to take a looong step backwards. Think. Think about thinking. Your brain is the only thing that separates you from the stardust and animals. Cherish it, capitalize on it. and enjoy is.

4. Fear is the greatest obstacle in everyone’s life. It is a life governing agent which deters you from making empowered decisions, from exploring the world, from experiencing new things, from true love, and it is the main bar between you and true personal existential freedom.

 

Understanding the parsimony of life is key. Life is a complicated or as easy as you choose to make it. Poor decisions, emotionalism, mental health issue, depression, drug abuse etc etc- are all signs of a life that is far outside the boundaries of simplicity. The simplest answer is always invariably the correct one. If you feel like you are swimming upstream, you are, and it is time for a change and a reduction of outliers and distraction. If it is people that hold you back, then shed those people from your life, if poverty or illness are restrictive, then be pro-active about getting over these situations, and if your past, or your fears hold you back, then simply walk through it, If sentimentality or misplaced loyalties hold you in check- get honest with those factors.

With simplicity, you cannot fail at life. You can only over-complicate. In this day and age when our merit is weighed under the banners of “success” and “failure”- simplicity and an understanding of your place in the world can offer a long sought purity and cleanliness which exudes effectiveness, authentic actions, and positive, reaffirming directed thoughts, ideas, and emotions.

Crossroads

North Texas - 2014

North Texas – 2014

 

A man stands at a dusty crossroad. His name is not important. The forces of the universe which have brought him to this point are all in the past. The dreams, jokes, lovers, tragedies; all of it, no longer matter. For all intents and purposes, he is a man without a name, without a past, and without a story.

What are the basic elements at play? There is the question of choice. There is the question of motivation. There is the question of the future. We humans have the ability to time travel. We can imagine an outcome for the decisions we make. We can envision the world ten, twenty, one hundred years ahead. At the same time we can withdraw to the cusp of the moment. Listen to the blood in our ears, the wind through the trees, or the silence of a hot afternoon at a lonely crossroad.

So the real question is this. If we disregard the past entirely, how can we make the best use of the elements of our situations? How much does the past hold us back? How much of our motivation is driven by the past, and how much does the past weigh in when we consider our own futures.

Imagine now, that you are free of the past. Literally, it is over. For good and for all. It is done. You stand at a crossroad. There is nothing which may limit you. Your past and the role it plays in your life is a choice. You are not a victim. You are in control. It is after all, your story, not the story of some other person. This is the time you are entitled to, and it ticks by. Are you doing exactly what you want. If not, is the compromise you are making worth it? No mysterious force is going to come along and dislodge you from your life. If change is necessary, then you alone, must seek it.

This is the challenge I leave for you today.

Years Between Us (For S)

Wreckage

 

That summer,

A phone rang,

the baby cried,

and my old friend was dead.

 

I stared at the foreign land outside the window

and wondered what the fuck I was doing.

Mother gave me the details over the static.

My wife knew I would be drinking soon.

 

The memory.

 

In our days of youth and ease,

I never imagined a day without you.

 

You and I,

ran face first in full sunlight.

navigated the ocean of school.

rode the fine line of moonlight along the city streets.

stole the jeweled summertime.

tasted and shared girls and epics thereof.

 

There is no tribute I can make-

I have written this poem at least a hundred times.

the words are never right,

images prove elusive-

I cannot resurrect you with these words.

I don’t feel you in these lines-

not like it used to be.

 

The only magic I possess

is too weak to conjure your spirit,

even for a moment.

 

With all the years between us,

I can now admit you were angelic,

I was jealous of your humble heart.

I wanted to be able to love the girls as you loved them,

I wanted adoration, brotherhood, and the kinship you declared.

 

It was your purity that drove me away in those last few years,

I had auctioned my soul,

and could not face you.

 

But nowadays,

I understand the truth-

that if laying out my black heart back then, meant one more quiet day with you,

one sun filled hour of easy laughter,

or even a single moment in the light of your unconditional love-

I would have set out the needles and demons and bottles and pain for your sad inspection;

In facing you, I would have faced myself, just to see you again my friend.

 

Thirteen years this summer since the call from mother.

I am a different type of man,

your love was not in vain.

We would be close again. I would have closed the gap.

We would again share the triumph and anguish of living.

I would have finally been the loyal pal you deserved.

 

Even now, these words are all I have to go on-

Time, it seems, erases nothing,

and memories curl around my pen like a warm creature.

I place the final lines of the poem,

arranging them as I would flowers at your grave,

and that is all I can do now.

 

 

 

 

 

The Most Useful Construct in Existential Psychology

Terror Management and the Modern World

Sun and Tank

It is a strange situation in which we humans find ourselves. We find ourselves conscious, wrapped in mortal flesh, aware of our own selves, aware of our own individuality. We have thoughts and emotions of which we are cognizant. We exist on a tiny blue planet in the cosmos. Our ability to think, to reason, to connect with other of our species are what separates us from the rest of the life on this planet. Our capacity for thought has helped us climb to the top of the food chain despite our relative physical weaknesses. What began as cooperation between early man and his fellows has now become the basis of society, law, and civilization today. So what does a modern human make of all this? With all of the advances in science and conveniences of the modern world, what is it that drives mankind?

A glance back over our history shows many anthropological, psychological, and sociological threads which seem common to us all. In the book, The Birth and Death of Meaning, (Becker, E. 1962), the author outlines the anthropological and psychological mechanisms by which the individual consciousness has developed, and how the individual consciousness understands his world.When it comes to the universal experience of life on this planet, nothing is quite so universal than the idea of death. It runs as clearly through our cultures and histories as it runs through own thought. The ability to think in symbolic terms, i.e. the ability to represent whole ideas with the use of symbols, whether these symbols are words that represent real world objects and situations, or whether these symbols are ethereal in nature as in the case of ideas, philosophies, concepts, or the supernatural: symbols have assigned meaning to our world and an unprecedented understanding of that world. Yet it is precisely this ability to consider our world symbolically which has also been the primary source of our suffering. With the ability to think in symbols came the ability to consider the conditions of our existence. With an ability to differentiate the “I” from the “not I”, we have grown to understand the nature of being. Yet individual understanding of one’s own existence, come with the price tag non-existence. Awareness of being comes with the understanding that we have not always existed, nor will we exist forever. At a very tender age we begin to wrestle with this understanding. By middle childhood, we have come to fully understand the implications. “The idea of death, and the fear of it, haunts the human animal like nothing else; it is the mainspring of human activity.” (Becker, 1973. ix) Often we will have gathered some experience in this realm through the loss of an early childhood pet, or the death of a relative. Someday, we soon understand, we too will die (Becker, E. 1962, pp 1-27).

So how does a self-aware creature, who is cognizant of his own demise, years and decades before the fact, deal with the knowledge that he will wink out of existence one day? In The Denial of Death (Becker, 1973), we see the case for culture as the solution to our existential dilemma. Our shared symbols and collective meanings, associations, and accomplishments become the key to a type of immortality. We take part in aspects of our culture which will live beyond our own limitations. We participate in the world through social activity, “Activity designed largely to avoid the fatality of death, to overcome it by denying in some way that it is the final destination for man.” (Becker, 1973. ix) This is the basis of Terror Management Theory. In summary, we utilize our cultural associations, and our membership in various groups, to serve as the antidote to our existential paradox. Being a creature who can think so well, that he understands his lack of permanence is not an easy dilemma to solve. Yet the management of our anxiety about our own demise can be largely assuaged by our cultural associations. Whereas Freud thought that sex was the cause of all of our problems, Becker believes it is the anxiety of our ultimate death which is the cause of our dysfunction. Still, the existential problems we face are not fully solved by culture. And what happens when we encounter other cultures? In these modern times, we can easily see the practicality of Terror Management, so let’s examine the evidence. (Becker, E. 1973).

Evidence for Terror Management

In order to understand the evidence for TMT, we must understand the idea of mortality salience. Mortality salience is defined as the awareness of one’s ultimate demise. In TMT, we see that culture, broadly defined is the antithesis to mortality salience. More specifically however, we must see the culture defines our worldview, and that our individual worldview is provides the answer to the personal terror we feel when we recognize our ultimate demise. Worldviews are composed of beliefs, religious affiliation, political ideologies, statesmanship, and other affiliations which serve as a lens to construct our worldview. We each have individual lenses or ideologies we subscribe to which define our reality and provide a path to immortality by being part of something greater than ourselves so that where we may not live on, a group, idea, or religion, may exist far beyond our time here, thereby granting access indirectly for the individual to obtain immortality (Rosenblatt, Greenberg, Sheldon, Pyszcznski. 1989).

Experimentally it was derived that exposure to that which lies outside of one’s cultural worldview would bring mortal salience to the surface. Since anything different than one’s worldview threatens that worldview, then the access to immortality is threatened by that which lies outside of one’s worldview. Thus, mortality salience is raised, and immortality is threatened, which causes the psychological revolt to that which lies outside of one’s worldview. The reaction to mortality saliency and threats to one’s immortality, is violence.

Rosenblatt et.al. (1989), ran a series of experiments to demonstrate the reaction to mortality salience. Self-esteem is link intrinsically culture, since culture provides meaning and value. Culture also provides the security of a just world and real and symbolic immortality. To be esteemed in one’s culture grants access to immortality. But the bolstering of self-esteem is a constant struggle to ward of reminders of one’s own death. Since self-esteem is derived through culture, that which threatens culture threatens self-esteem and personal value and thus confronts us with mortality.

In the first experiment, researchers exposed municipal judges to manipulations which caused a rise in mortal salience. Simple open-ended questionnaires regarding what happens after death and the emotions this bring up were administered. Immediately after they were asked to assign penalties for prostitution case files. It was found that the judges exposed to the MS questionnaires assigned higher punitive bond rulings on the cases than those not exposed to MS manipulation. In the remaining experiments, it was shown that not only did exposure to MS manipulation change outcomes, but the experimenters also ruled out thing’s like self-awareness as being a mitigating factor. By isolating MS manipulation, Rosenblatt et. al. (1989) were able to demonstrate that exposure to MS, either through cultural identity, or through questions about one’s own mortality, all changed outcomes along predictable lines. The exposure to MS intensified outcome reactions, which demonstrates a reactivity to ideas that threaten cultural buffering against MS. Also, exposure to MS, strengthened ideas about morality and transgressions of morality which are held by culture at large. Thus, the reaction to those things which cross morality-cultural boundaries, were negatively esteemed by the participants. This particular study, forms the basis of TMT research today.

A meta-analysis of social psychology experiments conducted by Burke, Martens, and Fauscher in 2010, showed that since the groundbreaking MS experiments of Rosenblatt in 1989, 277 experiments have been conducted testing the role of MS among various populations including Americans, college students, and specific genders. The experimenters were concerned with TMT experimentation along several lines, but specifically, the research looked at the quantifiable effect size of two decade of TMT research and found that the magnitude of MS effect on experimental outcomes was robust at r = .35. The researchers concluded that the effect of MS on experimental outcomes “produces moderate to large effects across a wide variety of MS manipulations as well as attitudinal, cognitive, and behavioral dependent variables.”(Burke, Martens, Fauscher. 2010).

Discussion

            There is a significant amount of experimental research to imply that not only is MS a significant factor in the human experience, but that it underlies many of our motives, thoughts and actions. Therefore, we are returned to the original idea that cultural buffering from MS is a uniquely human and essential part of our adaptation to the cognizance of death. Furthermore, that which threatens our cultural buffers and identity brings our MS to the surface. And finally, that when MS is brought to the surface, the intensity of our reaction is often punitive, judgmental, and or violent. Historically, when one culture encounter another culture, there were automatic effort to either convert or destroy these cultures. In fact, history is comprised largely of these stories. From the settling of the America’s to modern wars in Iraq and Afghanistan we see this playing out. More importantly however, is the idea that aspects of culture which provide our safety from mortal truth, also hinder social progression. For example, the equal rights movements, across gender, race, and sexual orientation, have all been hampered by cultural identity. Religion also, plays a significant role as it is the belief in supernatural constructs which provides the majority of us with the answer as to what happens when we die. This has hampered scientific discovery and the disbursement of scientific fact throughout the population. No one want to be told that what they believe is false, and they will rally against it, even in the mounting face of evidence.

This brings us to the broad scope. Our subjugation of the natural world, our rise of culture and religion, and our protection of these cultural identities have lead us to perhaps our greatest problem- the eventual extinction of mankind. As we have altered the world, warred, exploited, and manipulated everything from one another, to natural resources, all in an attempt to protect what we call “our way of life”; we have destroyed the environment around us and degraded the planet to such a degree that to continue on as we are can only mean ruin. So, in avoiding death we have brought ourselves to the doorway of death on a massive scale. We are facing the truth, as Jacque Fresco, inventor of the Venus Project, has said, where we must “evolve or perish”. Mr. Fresco ascertains that technology is the access point through which we may find salvation, and perhaps he is correct. Yet for the individual, the specific paradigms of his day to day reality are immoveable objects. The idea of work, consumerism, political participation, religion, education, and monetary systems are the identifying staples of common culture and cultural values. Thus, in order to save ourselves, we must change the very systems of culture, and we must change that which we value in these systems, and we must change it collectively. The occasional enlightened mind, such as that of Mr. Fresco, are not going to be sufficient for us to pull ourselves out of decline. It must be done en-masse, otherwise, it will offer no protection from the reality of our mortality and we will thus avoid it at all costs.

 

Conclusion

            We see the effects of TMT all around us. We also see that in our struggle to escape death, when have essentially insured the demise of our species in the long run. Thus escape from death, whether on an individual level through cultural buffers, or at a societal level through cultural perpetuation, are both temporary solutions to a permanent problem. I believe that in the same way man has used his symbolic mind to assuage his death fears, he can move through this fear symbolically into a state of true existential freedom. Acceptance of one’s death, and a striving to make the most of mortal time through creative and loving action, is the road to enlightenment, peace, and freedom. In doing so, we will collectively recognize our predicament. We will embrace scientific advancement and the evolution of our species. And finally, acceptance of death is the answer to the violence and suffering we see today. It is hard to stand shoulder to shoulder with a fellow human, look up into the vastness of the cosmos, and not feel a kinship and brotherly love. In the face of such incredible truth, compassion and love are the only answers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Becker, E. (1962).    The Birth and Death of Meaning. 2nd Edition. (pp. 1-27, 32-53, 65-111) The Free Press. New York, New York.

Becker, E. (1973).    The Denial of Death. (pp. xi, 11-25, 47-66). The Free Press. New York, New York.

Burke, B. Martens, A. Fauscher, E. (2010).  Two decades of terror management theory: a meta-   analysis of mortality salience research.  Personality and Social Psychology Review. (14).    155-195.

Fresco, J. (2014).  The Venus Project: Paradise or Oblivion.  Retrieved from http://www.thevenusproject.com/

Rosenblatt, A. Greenberg, J. Solomon, S. Pyszcynski, T. Lyon, D. (1989) Evidence for terror             management theory: I. The effects of mortality salience on reactions to those who violate             of uphold cultural values. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. (57). 681-690.

 

The Village Clinic

Kansas - 2014

Kansas – 2014

I sat in bald rooms with half-naked women who were dark as the ocean at night.

I could feel the blistering paint.

My tender western mind rebelled from the heat,

and I withdrew.

 

Somewhere out here, are the remains of a gentleman-

A man who would have been recognized

by his plush white wife back in Leeds.

 

An old man with ornamental tattoos sweeps the packed dirt floor around me,

as if I am a statue; immovable.

In some ways I am,

Ten years.

 

Ten years as the company man in the bush-

Kurtz was merely fiction compared to the darkness I have seen.

 

A baby cries off to my right,

there is suckling,

My western modesty does not let me look,

even still.

 

The Australian nun emerges from the behind the roll away shade,

“Mr. Bennington, I presume”- She smiles, with teeth.

I think it is a question,

and raise my hand like a schoolboy.